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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

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Working upon a given historical event, then, the
historian knits around it a web of historical explanation,
If the event happens to be one so anomalous that it has
no meaning for us, or so alien to our experience that it
leaves us cold, the explanation—which in reality is its
reintegration in its context—will establish, so to speak,
a means of communication with it. The follies, the
crimes and the wilfulnesses that were unspeakable will
not be turned into virtues but will at least become
humanly understandable. When we think of the men
who believed that the sun went round the earth and that
Intelligencies moved the planets, we shall no longer
brush these fools aside as though they had nothing to do
with us. When we hear of pious men who persecuted
their neighbours in the sixteenth century, we shall cease
to turn our backs on them and bluntly dismiss the
affair as a case of ordinary crime. The total result of
such habits and procedures is to lessen the inclination
to declare in an impetuous way that this man is a fool,
that man a criminal, that other one a representative of a
vested interest. The effect, therefore, should be from
one point of view a greater urbanity; and from another
point of view a recognition of wider fields for the
exercise of charity. What is essential to the whole task
is the realisation that a special effort is needed to compre-
hend the men who are not like-minded with oneself.
There are those who think that there can be too much